IL Y A ...

L'expression "il y a" apparaît dans différents contextes en français. Par conséquent, on utilisera plusieurs traductions. The phrase "il y a" is used in several contexts in French. Consequently, il may be translated in various ways.

1. "Il y a" = il existe

  • il y a There is + SINGULAR
  • il y a There are + PLURAL
  • il y a There was + SINGULAR
  • il y a There were + PLURAL
  • il y aura There will be ... (future)
  • il doit y avoir There must be ... (probability)
  • il devrait y avoir There should be (light probability or advice)
  • il se peut/pourrait qu'il y ait There may/might be ... (likelihood)
  • il a dû y avoir There must have been (past probability)
  • il aurait dû y avoir There should have been (past probability or advice)
  • il se peut/pourrait qu'il y ait eu There may/might have been (past likelihood)
  • il y avait autrefois There used to be (break between past and present)

Il y a + NOTION DE DUREE 2. "Il y a" + DURATION

  • I've been studying English for ten years. / It is ten years since I've been studying English. Il y a dix ans que j'étudie l'anglais. (= j'étudie l'anglais depuis dix ans)
  • I haven't seen her for ages. / It's ages since I saw her. Il y a des siècles que je ne l'ai pas vue. ( = je ne l'ai pas vue depuis des siècles)
  • It's five months since he wrote to us. / He hasn't written to us for five months. Il y a cinq mois qu'il ne nous a pas écrit.


  • He died ten years ago. Il y a dix ans qu'il est mort.
  • I took my driving licence two years ago. Il y a deux ans que j'ai passé le permis.
  • He left the company five years ago. / It's five years since he left the company. Il y a cinq ans qu'il a quitté l'entreprise.

Dans certains cas, "il y a" n'est tout simplement pas traduit. 4. "Il y a" is sometimes just NOT translated

  • The boss is waiting for you. Il y a le patron qui t'attend.
  • Someone's calling you /  There's someone calling you. Il y a quelqu'un qui t'appelle au téléphone.
  • Some people never read. Il y a des gens qui ne lisent jamais.

In cases 3 and 4, if there is a link with the present (contituation or consequence in the present, use the PRESENT PERFECT).If it is completely past, use the SIMPLE PAST (PRETERIT)

Complete the sentences with the appropriate translation of "il y a"

Exercise 1 : Sentences 1 to 10

Exercise 2 : Sentences 11 to 20

Exercise 3 : Sentences 21 to 30